Just before taking you to the emergency room
From the beginning, the new year opens
without looking back.
Stars last night, Starbuck’s tonight,
tomorrow’s promise of blue skies,
and the slow working magic
of hot green tea,
sipped to the release of tension
into attention—the real work forward
gifted from a paper cup,
and your hand
on my shoulder.
Sleeping on your side,
waking to the empty space
where I should be.
The crescent moon
slowly loosens it’s grip
on the night sky.
Muted streaks of pink appear
low in the east.
And straight up overhead, beyond
the glare of street lamps,
the last trickles
of star light
pull a smile and a prayer
to these lips.
Forgetting to close the curtains,
I turn out the lights
and suddenly see stars,
patches of fog rolled over the horizon,
hillside street lamps, and lighted windows
where people are awake, late.
Quiet beauties, here
where we sleep, missed
simply by circumstance.
We should do this together one night,
you and I—I’d give you your side back
Ushered by owls,
morning light reveals winter
oranges—a soft one
for your breakfast.
Learning from the pen
I lie in bed
in a swim of thoughts,
not just barely breathing,
but holding my breath, breath
held in abeyance, for,
for something other
than the swim—like a pen,
held over waiting readiness,
a pen held back
from certain resolution
as affirmer of the stream,
resolution in continuing engagement
with the body, home-place of its breath,
the open page.
The telescope pulls the craters closer to the deck,
here where I stand, just above sea-level,
where the moon’s pull back is so readily felt.
And there too, through the glass, a few clicks higher
to the left, the bright glimpse of Jupiter’s moons,
three of them.
Pull on pull, the responsive calls of heaven’s works,
the recurring, heart-felt tides
of healing harmonies.
William Stafford’s poems comprised various fragments,
seemingly errant tributaries that passed through
each morning, which he followed, or not,
seeing where they might lead, what lessons
might be learned, all the while listening
for the foundational source, the deeper river
he trusted most.